Church of Ireland lay worker to be sentenced for rape and molestation of 14 boys
A former lay worker with the Church of Ireland is due to be sentenced for the rape and molestation of 14 young boys over the course of 30 years.
Patrick O’Brien (76) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 48 sample counts of indecent assault, including various instances of anal penetration and three counts of sexual assault of the boys between 1977 and 2010 at numerous locations throughout the state including Kildare, Westmeath, on a boat in Loughrea in Co Galway and at St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin where he worked as a volunteer.
O’Brien, with an address at Knocklyon Road, Templeogue, Dublin, was previously sent forward for trial from Dublin District Court. Judge Cormac Dunne previously ruled that the media could identify the accused following an application by RTÉ at the District Court.
All of the victims wish to preserve their anonymity. Four victims were present in court for the sentence hearing. Each man prepared a victim impact report but some indicated they didn’t want their statements read out.
It took over 30 minutes to read out the charges in a sentence hearing that is taking place over two days to allow for all 14 statements of complaint to be read into the record.
Detective Garda Anthony Maloney outlined the various incidents of sexual abuse which included open mouth kissing, rape, attempted rape, oral rape and mutual masturbation. There are at least two set of brothers amongst O'Brien's victims.
The court heard that O'Brien would bring the boys to his yacht, take them for driving lessons or bring them to the office where he worked. He abused one boy once a week in a car wash after they were hidden from view while the vehicle was covered in foam.
O’Brien would often drop the boys home and very regularly have dinner or drinks with their parents, having abused their child hours earlier.
O'Brien regularly came up to the victims’ bedroom to “kiss them goodnight and tuck them in” but would then sexually abuse them, usually touching their penis and then performing oral sex on them.
One man, who was abused a number of times by O'Brien, was first raped by him on the child’s parents’ bed. O'Brien blocked the bedroom door with a chair before stripping the child and himself.
This same victim was also raped in O'Brien's mother's home. The victim was introduced to O'Brien's mother before O'Brien took him into the garage and sexually abused him.
This victim also told gardaí that O'Brien would put him and his younger brother to bed when their parents were downstairs. He would read his brother a story while that child was lying in a top bunk and at the same time would force the victim, who was lying on the bottom bunk, to perform oral sex on him.
When he had finished reading the story, O’Brien would sit on the boy’s bed and “French kiss him”.
Another victim, who was first raped by O'Brien when he was nine years old, told gardaí that he was in pain for days afterwards and could still recall that pain when he made his statement of complaint a few years ago.
He said O'Brien continually reassured him while raping him, calling him a “good and brave boy”.
He said when being raped by O'Brien on his boat, he just closed his eyes “waiting for the morning to come” and tried to think about the fun he would have sailing the next day.
Various victims told gardaí that they had made efforts to avoid O'Brien. They had been told by their abuser that it was “their little secret” with some of the boys feeling they were being threatened. Others described O'Brien as being like an uncle to them and many said he was very much a trusted family friend.
The men also told gardaí that O'Brien gave them sweets and gifts including cash and watches. One boy was given a bike.
Det Gda Maloney said all the men were badly affected by the abuse. Two men who were raped by O'Brien told gardaí they were very worried when they learned about AIDS on the news as children and were terrified they were going to die.
Many victims reported that their school work began to suffer and they had trouble with relationships. Many began drinking from an early age.
One man outlined in his victim impact report that he had never married and said that this was down to the abuse he suffered. He said he felt now at 50 years old that the chance to have a wife and family had passed him by.
Another victim said he never wanted to have children because he didn't want to be responsible for them after the abuse he suffered as a young boy.
The sentencing hearing continues tomorrow before Judge Melanie Greally.